15 Minutes of Fame

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15 Minutes of Fame

by Catherine Gross


Andy Warhol famously said, "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes;" his prediction was accurate. In today’s culture of instant gratification, YouTube has provided an outlet for ordinary people to reach high levels of fame, usually for acts that are not within the typical avenues that lead towards mainstream celebrity. Where we once watched only classic Hollywood starlets or iconic bands, much of today's entertainment is focused around "ordinary" people who found their way into the public eye through outlets such as YouTube or reality television. This change in celebrity is certainly a product of technological advances and social media, which allow people to instantly share many aspects of their lives. 

My video mashup is a compilation of fifteen individuals who exemplify Warhol's prediction of "fifteen minutes of fame." Some of these YouTube stars have actually outlived the 15-minute prediction, gaining levels of immense mainstream celebrity, but all started with a simple video upload that went viral, thrusting them into the spotlight.

The video first depicts the world’s most famous YouTube sensation, Justin Bieber, and a spin-off YouTube star, a three year old who tears over her love for the teen pop heartthrob. A string of clips depict the "Numa Numa guy," famous for lip-synching, Chuck Testa, famous for an awkward (and hilarious) commercial, Shane Dodson, famous for comedy videos, and the adorable toddler who Charlie bit. 

Another segment features Rebecca Black, a thirteen year old made world famous for producing what was (arguably) the worlds worst music video, as well as Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice, and the "double rainbow" guy: a man who's expressed excitement for nature landed him in the spotlight. Antoine Dodson, famous for his newscast denunciation of a "bed intruder," Chocolate Rain, and Jenna, the funny girl who makes YouTube monologues with millions of followers, also make appearances.

A flashback to the YouTube's earlier day depicts the "shoes" guy, who has produced some cult-classic YouTube comedies, and one of the newest viral obsessions, "Sh*t Girls say. Intertwined throughout the original YouTube videos are clips of the results of these YouTube star's fame: news interviews and talk show appearances. While most of these stars didn't beat the 15-minute clock on their fame expiration date, they all soaked up the spotlight during the height of their YouTube fame. All of these videos are consistent with the notion of instant, usually short-lived fame, proving Warhol's prediction to be dead-on.  


To make this mashup, I used the program iShowU to capture videos off of YouTube, and then imported them to Final Cut Pro. I chose entertaining segments from the 15 Youtube Celebrity original videos as well as news and other interview clips, and edited them together.


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